Over the years, Spy Blog has been the willing and sometimes unwilling, recipient of various confidential secrets, some of which we have been asked to pass on anonymously to the mainstream media or to the appropriate government authorities.
This mini-blog splits up, and
slightly greatly expands, what had become a rather long and cumbersome single Spy Blog posting Home Office whistleblowers - hints and tips, originally published in May 2006.
This was prompted by the whistleblower leaks to the media, and by appeals for further such leaks by political bloggers, regarding the appalling state of the Home Office, especially the scandals over Prisons and the inept non-deportation of foreign prisoners etc.
This lead to the resignation of one Labour Home Secretary Charles Clarke and the description of the Home Office, by his equally incompetent and repressive Labour successor John Reid as being "dysfunctional and not fit for purpose".
The later, scandalous arrest and searches of the then Conservative front bench immigration spokesman (now a Home Office Government Minister) Damian Green MP's home, constituency and Parliamentary offices, and the Home Office whistleblower Christopher Galley, in 2008 and their subsequent vindication in 2009, show how the civil service bureaucrats and the Labour politicians currently power, like to spuriously invoke "national security", when they are really trying to suppress purely political scandals, for which they are to blame, from being made public.
All well and good, but many of the whistleblowers, investigative journalists, bloggers and activists etc. are not very skilled at protecting the anonymity of their whistleblower or journalistic sources, especially when using today's computer and mobile phone technology.
Even where a whistleblower knows that they will eventually have to go public, there is often a crucial time period during which they want or need to protect their anonymity.
It is scandalous that we should even need to think about the same sort of techniques which are needed by people living under repressive dictatorships, when we live in a supposed "liberal western democracy" here in the United Kingdom, but unfortunately these internationally applicable practical hints and tips, are becoming increasingly necessary.
If you are leaking information to the press or broadcast media or to higher management in companies and organisations, or to external regulatory bodies, they all invariably need some documentary proof of what you are telling them, e.g. a document or memo or advance copy of a report, or photographic images or an email. etc.
Hopefully the following technical (and common sense) hints and tips will make you think about whether you are properly protecting yourself or your anonymous sources, given the complexity and power of modern communications and the means to snoop on them.
This is an ongoing Work in Progress, and some of the sections are placeholders, with further details to follow, if people are interested, or wish to contribute.
Please feel free to comment on the individual blog postings with error corrections or other suggestions.